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Reflections from the Early Career PPB Intern

Martiza Abril, Louisiana State University

I have had a unique opportunity to serve as the third APS Public Policy Board (PPB) Early Career Intern this year. This experience has allowed me to be involved first hand in issues that have direct impact on current and relevant issues in agriculture at the national level. I have participated in several discussions addressing critical issues that directly impact agriculture through monthly conference calls with my fellow Board members. My first course of action was to become familiar with the current APS initiatives that include Biosecurity, Culture Collections, Education, Food Safety, Industry, Genomics, General Agricultural Funding, and Regulatory Issues. From there, my personal interest let me to join the Education Initiative and to participate actively on a symposium that will assess the current status of plant pathology educational programs nationwide scheduled concurrently with the APS Annual Meeting to be held next year in Portland, OR.

I have also been engaged in making decisions about numerous current concerns in the field of plant pathology from the demise of faculty and research positions to Farm Bill Implementation. The APS PPB internship available to APS members (graduate students, post-docs, or members with 10 years of receiving a degree) members within 10 years of receiving their degree offers an invaluable experience to those interested in getting first-hand insight of policy making at the national level. Having the opportunity to be directly involved on the process of decision-making on relevant aspects concerning my field of interest has certainly rendered this experience gratifying and rewarding. The internship has made me aware of the impact to the economy of the country of funding allocations for advances in science and technology. Attention to biotechnical research applied to agriculture should be considered a priority to all parties involved, since it represents an opportunity to improve the nation’s resources for generations to come. Furthermore, now I am aware of the crucial role that scientific societies such as APS have with respect to providing leadership to address immediate needs in agriculture that are of a national scope, such as the development of resistant plant cultivars and the training of plant pathologists.

First published as abstract in Phytopathology 99:S178